Are you like me, do you need to know about your plants in detail once they are in your loving embrace? Well, yesterday's delivery of (excuse me but my plant is a girl *blush*) Rosie led me to do some research; I'm sharing most of it here so you too can feel like a professional ;)
* First I went to the RHS, naturally. They had virtually no information at all, in fact I was so shocked (it was like getting a googleplex) that here is the information they had.
"What?!" I hear you scream.
"I know" say's I.
I mean even I have known since forever that it exudes a clear gel that eases minor burns, insect bite and rashes. I've heard it alluded about in face care products as great for re-hydration and toning! Come on RHS, look up Google images, Wikipedia even and write something!
* So next on to the Kew gardens website and lo and behold we have some information..
Cape Aloe is pretty common then and grows in South Africa and Lesotho, though also very common in cultivation like Rosie. It is used for its colourless leaf gel in 'cosmetics, herbal remedies and food supplements' but also, and I didn't know this, for 'a bitter brown leaf exudate'.
This bitter brown exudate is prepared from the cut area of mature leaves which are stacked and allowed to drip into a central well. This goop is then concentrated and dried to achieve a dark shiny crystalline form, referred to as 'Cape Aloes' It is taken as a laxative and purgative and may ease arthritis. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME
* The Eden Project tells us that in it's natural state the single stemmed plant can grow up to 3.5 meters tall! I really don't think my little one will ever get there. The leaves are generally smooth in the centre (though there may be some spikes especially on the undersides) and go out to spikes along the edges, which is where is gets the name Latin name ferox (fierce).
* So here is Rosie all settled in her new home and loving the camera for me....
And here are the flowers that would be produced been half a chance - pretty spectacular!